Sir Matthew Bourne OBE has been announced as the recipient of this year’s Special Award at the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard, in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in dance.

Hailed by many as the UK’s most successful living choreographer and director, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE has created and directed dance for musicals, theatre and film for 30 years, receiving numerous international accolades including seven Olivier Awards. This Special Award will be Bourne’s eighth Olivier Award, making him joint holder of the most Olivier Awards, alongside Judi Dench.

Matthew Bourne Special Olivier Award 2019

Sir Matthew Bourne OBE (image courtesy of Hugo Glendinning)

Kenny Wax, President of the Society of London Theatre, said:

“The Society of London Theatre is delighted to acknowledge Matthew Bourne’s extraordinary achievements in dance with this year’s Special Olivier Award. Matthew has transformed the landscape of dance in this country and across the globe with his bold, innovative and popular work, loved by audiences around the world.”

Matthew Bourne Special Olivier Award 2019

Edward Scissorhands – Liam Mower (image courtesy of Johan Persson)

As Artistic Director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures (1987 – 2002), Bourne’s award-winning work included Spitfire, Nutcracker!, Highland Fling, Cinderella and The Car Man – as well as Swan Lake, which went on to become the longest-running ballet in the West End and on Broadway, and be performed all over the world.

In 2002, with co-director Robert Noble, Bourne launched New Adventures, now a hugely influential exporter of British dance around the world. With the company, Bourne has premiered iconic productions including Play Without Words, Edward Scissorhands, Sleeping Beauty and The Red Shoes. 2019 sees the world premiere of Bourne’s 12th full-length production, Romeo and Juliet, which involves young dance talent from across the UK performing alongside the New Adventures company.

Matthew Bourne Special Olivier Award 2019

Oliver! (image courtesy of Alastair Muir)

Bourne has created choreography for several major musicals, including Cameron Mackintosh’s productions of Oliver! and My Fair Lady, the National Theatre’s revival of South Pacific, and the 2004 production of Mary Poppins (with Stephen Mear), which returns to the West End later this year.

Awarded the OBE for Services to Dance in 2001, Bourne was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2016 for services to dance, and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award in recognition of his outstanding services to the art of ballet.

Past recipients of the Special Award include Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Sondheim and Ian McKellen.

The Olivier Awards 2019 return to the Royal Albert Hall on 7 April 2019. Nominations will be announced on Tuesday 5 March. For more information, visit the awards website.